June 27th, 2009 at 01:51pm
Not the best day in the history of American politics. Their version of the emission trading scheme has been passed by the US House Of Representatives, but still needs to make it through the Senate.
The Democratic-controlled House, dealing a legislative victory to President Obama, narrowly passed sweeping legislation Friday that calls for the nation’s first limits on pollution linked to global warming and aims to usher in a new era of cleaner, yet more costly energy.
The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and days of intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs.
The House’s action fulfilled Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vow to clear major energy legislation before July 4, and sent the measure to a highly uncertain fate in the Senate.
The legislation would require the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by about 80 percent by mid-century. That was slightly more aggressive than Obama originally wanted, 14 percent by 2020 and the same 80 percent by mid-century.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are rising at about 1 percent a year and are predicted to continue increasing without mandatory limits.
Under the bill, the government would limit heat-trapping pollution from factories, refineries and power plants and issue allowances for polluters. Most of the allowances would be given away, but about 15 percent would be auctioned by bid and the proceeds used to defray higher energy costs for lower-income individuals and families.
On the House floor, Democrats hailed the legislation as historic, while Republicans said it would damage the economy without solving the nation’s energy woes.
With any luck this thing will die in the Senate, much likes it seems to be doing here in Australia.